Engine Oils Explained

Why are there a range of engine oils and how do I know which one to choose?

The handbook of your vehicle will give you a minimum oil specification (such as a 5w30), and may even give you a suggested brand such as Gulf ULE 5w30. However, you may wish to use better specification engine oil, or one that has exactly the same specification, but is more affordable.

Choosing the correct engine oil for your vehicle depends on:

  • Type of vehicle - a high-performance engine needs higher performance oil
  • Age of vehicle (Modern) - a lot is expected from modern engines as car companies strive for high performance coupled with fuel efficiency. Advanced oils have been developed to help keep pace with these increased engineering demands. For example, modern cars have blow-by-gas recirculation that can cause extreme oxidation in old-technology oils and sensitive exhaust gas after-treatment devices that can be poisoned by inappropriate oils. If in doubt - ask!
  • Age of vehicle (Older) - Tyne and Wear Oils have a large range of oils specifically designed for vehicles that have been driven more than 60,000 miles
  • Driving environment - modern motorway driving and heavy stop-start traffic requires higher quality oils to prevent increased engine wear and tear

Gulf Superfleet XLE 10w30You may prefer one of our application-based products such as Gulf Superfleet XLE 10w40 a diesel engine oil which is recommended for high loaded diesel engines in light and heavy commercial vehicles such as Mercedes Sprinter vans.

To find the right automotive lubricants for your vehicle quickly and easily, contact Tyne and Wear Oils.

What are the advantages of buying quality oil from Tyne and Wear Oils?

Good quality oil provides motorists with a number of benefits:

  • Easier cold start and reduced wear (20 to 30% of engine wear occurs between startup and the time the engine reaches optimal temperature)
  • Longer engine life
  • Fuel savings as a result of reduced friction of moving parts and better engine performance

How often should I change the oil in my car?

As a general rule, the oil in your vehicle should be COMPLETELY changed at least once a year. How frequently can depend on use and the particular demands of your own brand of vehicle, but once every 12 months is a good starting point. Oil change intervals are usually detailed in your handbook, or on the dashboard of some modern vehicles.

Even when the oil in your vehicle has been changed, it is recommended to check the level using the engine dipstick every 500 miles, as distance can be as important as time in bringing forward an oil change.

Regular oil changing will help keep your engine in good condition and provide the best protection for all of your engine components.

How much oil do I need?

The average capacity of an automotive sump is 4.5 litres - so if you carry out your own oil change, you will need a 5-litre container.

If you are topping up between oil changes, a 1 litre container will suffice: it is practical, easy to use and cheaper.

Gulf Superfleet 15w40As oil will retain all of its qualities in a closed container (if stored correctly) many of our customers purchase the best value 20 litre containers of oil such as Gulf Superfleet Supreme 15w40 Diesel Engine Oil. 20 litre drums serve customers with either several vehicles, or vehicles that do a lot of miles.

Will I really notice the difference if I don't make frequent oil changes?

Engine oil acts as a reservoir for all kinds of by-products that form when the fuel burns, including soot, sludge, water and acidic material, as well as unburned and partially burned fuel. At the same time, the stress placed on the oil during engine operation gradually depletes the components that determine the oil's performance. Refreshing the oil on a regular basis ensures that the right balance of components is present in the oil.

For this reason it is also recommended to replace oil rather than just top up. If you think of oil as being 'clean' when it goes into your engine, the time to change it is when it has absorbed all of the crud from driving around.

Do I want Semi synthetic oil or fully synthetic oil for my vehicle?

Fully Synthetic Oils

Fully synthetic oils are specifically manufactured to provide consistent, superior performance. They provide maximum protection to the engine across a far wider range of temperatures - even beyond the engines actual maximum. They do not have the impurities found in mineral oils or degrade as quickly, and they are thinner, helping to improve fuel efficiency. An example of synthetic oil would be Gulf Formula ULE 5w30.

Semi Synthetic Oil

Semi synthetic oils are cheaper than fully synthetic as they are a mixture of synthetic and mineral oil. Engines requiring semi synthetic oil must use at least semi synthetic oil (not mineral oil) but may benefit from upgrading to fully synthetic oil for increased protection and performance. An example of semi-synthetic oil would be Gulf TEC Plus 10W-40.


If you have an immediate automotive lubricant or engine oil requirement, then please get in touch now for immediate, free, no obligation advice.